Because we are living though a Pierce Brosnan-era James Bond movie (side note: Pierce Brosnan is the BEST James Bond and I will fight anyone who disagrees), Russia is once again on the US political stage as the proverbial boogie man. Because why not? Everything else has literally gotten that ridiculous.
Let’s take a hot second to recap all of ways Russia has shown up on the political landscape in the last year: (We’ll do it in list form for brevity’s sake.)
- Paid Internet trolls to pump out anti-Hillary Clinton propaganda
- Donald Trump implores Russia to hack Hillary’s email
- Paul Manafort, Trump’s first campaign manager, is paid $12.7 million dollars from 2007-2012 by Viktor F. Yanukovych, a Ukrainian pro-Russian dictator. This was reported on in August 2016. I literally cannot make this shit up.
- Russia aims to undermine American people’s faith in the democratic process
- Gen. Mike Flynn, NSC Director, talks to Russian Abassador during the transition period about Obama administration sanctions; tells Russia not to “overreact” as sanctions will be “revisited” in Trump administration
- Dossier on Trump’s ties to Russia put together by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele. He is now presumed to be in hiding.
- Some information confirmed by CNN sources (names, dates, locations all match known records) – leads to overall confidence of the information, though most content is still unconfirmed. (Golden showers and Russian prostitutes, anyone?)
- Sally Yates, acting Attorney General, warns the Trump administration that Gen. Flynn is probably compromised
- Gen. Flynn fired as National Security Director
- McConnell says there will probably be an investigation of Gen. Flynn
- Russian lawmakers rush to the defense of Trump’s ex-national security adviser
- Trump is working on lifting the sanctions on Russia
- Jeff Sessions refuses to recuse himself from investigations into Russian ties during the Trump campaign, despite the fact he was heavily involved in the campaign.
- Dmitry Firtash and the strange extradition case that could possibly show Trump administration’s true colors. (It could also be a good explanation as to why Jeff Sessions won’t recuse himself)
- Some questions to ask next
This is a only small sampling of what has happened with Russia thus far. As we said in minisode on the subject, there is a lot of smoke and no fire as of yet. Still, it is obvious that in Trump’s very short tenure as president, Russia has become intertwined with our government’s processes.
This is something that women have been sounding the alarm about for months, if not years. Hillary Clinton talked about it during the second presidential debate, Sally Yates talked about it almost three weeks ago, and many highly qualified female journalists have been trying to tell us that there is more to the Russia story than meets the eye. Masha Gessen, a Russian-born journalist who was forced out of Russia for open dissent, wrote a piece 2 days after the election outlining what autocracy looks like and how we can fight it. All of these warnings were ignored.
Now, we are in a position of deep unrest. Putin and Russia clearly have a presence in our government, and it is worrying that Trump still refuses to release his tax returns. Never have we seen president this reluctant to disclose his business holdings, particularly with foreign governments. There are reports that the intelligence community is intentionally withholding Intel from Trump’s briefings, for fear that Russia has deep connections to the administration, and that the Kremlin may even have ears inside the situation room.
Stay informed and keep telling your senators and representatives to keep their eye on the Russian connection prize. This must be investigated by a bipartisan committee at the very least. It is clear Russia has interfered in our government, and we need to find out how.
In the words in Queen Maxine Waters, be wary of the “Kremlin Klan” and don’t give up on this issue, no matter how our attention is redirected.
There are too many questions left unanswered. Demand answer ASAP.
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) February 21, 2017
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) January 31, 2017
— Devon Handy (@DevonHandy) February 14, 2017
Spicer and Conway are telling mutually exclusive stories. Who’s lying this time? https://t.co/dswieVkW1v
— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) February 14, 2017
— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) February 14, 2017
Keep checking back, as I will be updating the blog as this batshit-bananas James Bond-esque story line plays out.